March 11, 2012

First Year's Open Season Strong for Nighthawks

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The Class of 2015 has already had an immediate impact for the Newbury College baseball team. Not only did two-sport athlete Cameron D'Agostino's (Salisbury, Mass.) walk-off single give the Nighthawks the 4-3 win over Wilmington but the freshman class combined to go nine-for-13 with seven RBIs against Eastern Nazarene College, Tuesday afternoon.

Starting at shortstop in Sunday afternoon's double-header, D'Agostino came through in the clutch and drove home fellow first year Corey Keane (Tolland, Conn.) in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The home half of the eighth appeared it was going to be a quick inning. Quaker reliever Hunter Justus, who came on in relieve of Jake Hofer, retired the first two Nighthawk batters – senior first baseman Alex Chetelat (Farmington, Conn.) and junior centerfielder Kyle Schiavone (Wethersfield, Conn.) with ease but ran into trouble at the bottom of the order.

Keane kept the inning alive, lining a base hit to the opposite side of the field. It appeared to have rattled Justus as he was unable to re-gain control of the game walking fellow Nighthawk infielders sophomore Daniel Kovner (Hamden, Conn.) and Steven Broy (Gorham, Maine), back-to-back, to load the bases and bring D'Agostino to the dish.

However, the day was over for Justus. Wilmington Head Coach Tony Haley had seen enough and opted to bring in a fresh arm, righthander Bruce Dunlap to face the Nighthawks shortstop. But a new pitcher did to faze D'Agostino as he took Dunlap's offering and lined it back where it came from to drive home Keane with the game winner.

Despite it being the first game of the season, the Nighthawks offense showed no signs of it. Junior right fielder Matthew Clawson (Tolland, Conn.) opened the bottom of the first working a lead-off walk from Quaker senior Jared Ramsey. After senior left fielder Michael Dean (Wethersfield, Conn.) singled to right, classmate and catcher Patrick Curry (Hampstead, N.H.) walked to load the bases.

With the bases chalked full of Nighthawks and no one out, Ramsey was a in a real jam as Chetelat, who started the game at first base, stepped to dish. The Connecticut native grounded to third as Wilmington third baseman Luke Teeters stepped on third to retire Dean for the first out of the frame but in the back door came Clawson for the first run of 2012.

Making his first start of the season, junior Zach Griesche (Niskayuna, N.Y.) already had a lead to work with. However, the lead was brief as the Quakers tied up the ballgame in the next half inning. Wilmington grabbed the 3-1 after taking advantage of the lead-off batter reach base in the third and fourth innings.

Both starters settled down late in the game. After giving up a run in the bottom of the first, Ramsey retired the next five batters before giving up a one-out base hit to senior left fielder Michael Dean (Wethersfield, Conn.).

His Newbury  counterpart, Griesche, also re-grouped and went the distance tossing his ninth complete game of his career before Chetelat came on in relief in the top of the eighth. D'Agostino's walk-off single earned the senior quad-captain his second victory of his collegiate career.

The next day against Eastern Nazarene College, Keane was red-hot from the dish after getting the start at shortstop in the second game against the Lions. Midway through game two Keane rocketed a double over the right fielder's head to drive in a Nighthawk run. Then a few innings later it was like déjà vu, all over again, lining his second base hit, in as many plate appearances, to help seal the 9-5 victory. Newbury swept the afternoon series against Eastern Nazarene, after taking the first game by one run, 7-6.

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